When I wrote my blog last week about having the freedom to shed tears, a relative who read it expressed concern.
“I was worried about you,” she said, even though I saw my ability to cry instead of holding back as a victory.
God wants to give us the freedom to express our emotions whether through tears or laughter. I’ve had a problem with holding back on each.
As God frees me to feel and stop turning to the things of this world to stuff down my feelings ie eating or shopping or mindless TV-watching to name a few, I feel so much more alive. Numbing my feelings is not emotionally or spiritually healthy
Too often I’ve focused on what’s wrong with this world, so I can get caught in an attitude of “There’s nothing to laugh about.”
But I believe that God wants me to laugh. He gave me the gift of laughter for a reason—to help lift my spirits.
Proverbs 17:22 says
A merry heart does good like a medicine…
Lately God is reminding me of that truth.
When I think of laughter, I often think of little children who laugh easily. Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:3:
Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
One pastor writes:
“I love to laugh. I believe that health and humor are related. Hard laughter has helped me through many unpleasant times in my life. I find even the soft chuckle lifts my spirit. If you are under stress, take a moment…and laugh. Go ahead; laugh right now!
There is a time to make mirth! Humor and health are related. Laughter may not heal you, but it can make you feel better while you’re sick.”
The Word of God tells us:
To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: …A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 4 NKJV
In researching online I discovered there are many benefits in laughing. There is even a field of study called gelotology which explores the benefits of laughter. One author writes,
“It was brought to the public’s awareness in Norman Cousins’ memoir Anatomy of an Illness. Cousins found that comedies, like those of the Marx Brothers, helped him feel better and get some pain-free sleep. That’s because laughter helps the pituitary gland release its own pain-suppressing opiates.”
Online I found these other health benefits of laughter.
- Lower blood pressure
- Increase vascular blood flow and oxygenation of the blood
- Give a workout to the diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles
- Reduce certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline
- Increase the response of tumor- and disease-killing cells such as Gamma-interferon and T-cells
- Defend against respiratory infections–even reducing the frequency of colds–by immunoglobulon in saliva.
- Increase memory and learning; in a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, humor during instruction led to increased test scores.
I am now on a search to find things to make me laugh. Seeking out people who pass along the gift of laughter also helps.
Here is a little “What children say” funny I found:
Six year old Mike was listening to the Messiah one day with his mother. When it got to this part: “He is the King of glory,” Mike asked, “Is Glory His wife?”
“Go ahead” as that pastor wrote, “laugh right now!” It will do you good.
Lord, I praise You for the gift of laughter. Help us to allow joy to flood from our life in the form of laughter. Let us use laughter to bring healing to our souls and to the souls of others. Free us from holding back our laughter and from holding on to hurts and heartaches. Let us believe in Your healing power and the healing power of laughter. In Jesus’ name. Amen.